Course Corrections

I worked as a doctor until six years ago, when I quit my job to stay home with my children. Since then, I have been a busy stay-at-home mother, and I’ve enjoyed it. Now, I’ve decided to have a go at my earlier dream of writing, though whether I’ll ever attempt to publish it and not just write for myself is unclear to me. I haven’t regretted leaving medicine, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t agonize about it when I did. And I don’t have high ambitions in writing, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to do well. And thinking that it would be nice to be good at it, it would be nice to be successful, immediately leads to regret, for all the years I spent on a different path. I feel a step or four behind. I wonder how much better I could be if I hadn’t wasted all that time. My low ambitions in writing are a direct result of my late entry. And the indecision I felt before I left medicine, when I was trying to decide what to do, included a sense that I had already committed myself to one path and couldn’t hope to succeed at a new one.

Lately, though, I’ve come to realize that a lot of us have convoluted journeys like mine. More than most of us probably realize. The Pioneer Woman left a life behind and started anew somewhere else, and she seems to be thriving. Jan O’Hara is another doctor who left medicine and now writes and blogs about it, and I found her by chance, not by googling for someone with a story like mine. In fact, maybe working in medicine is somehow helpful (I doubt it), judging by Michael Crichton and Robin Cook. And then there’s Clive Cussler and Ian Fleming. That’s off the top of my head, not from searching for people who have changed course midstream. I shouldn’t even have to think that hard, because my mother is a successful lawyer, but she didn’t go to law school until her late thirties.

We probably all feel a little behind, a little late to the party, when we start anew, and some of us probably keep feeling that way for a long time. But maybe we’re all getting to the party at the right time. Maybe, those course corrections are an important part of the journey. Maybe they even help us, if only to increase our appreciation of the new path we choose. And we shouldn’t feel like there’s ground to make up when the people around us, the ones we’re comparing ourselves to, also came to it late and feel like they’re making up ground too.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. livingthescottishdream
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 17:58:15

    Hi Nicole! I have just written my first novel at the age of 40. I am enjoying writing now more than I think I ever have. Before, it was poetry and song lyrics but now I feel compelled to tell ficitional stories. I guess there is never a point when it’s too late!

    Reply

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